Center Mike Richards was placed on waivers by the team that he won two Stanley Cup championships with in three years. Three years after signing a 12-year contract that paid him $5.75M with the Flyers, Richards was traded going into the 2011-12 season. The trade of the Flyers’ captain to the Los Angeles Kings saw promising forwards Brayden Schenn and Wayne Simmonds join the “City of Brotherly Love.”
Mike Richards was an asset to the Kings in their Stanley Cup championship in 2012, but has since regressed in point production from 60 points with the Philadelphia Flyers on a seasonal basis to a rapidly decreasing, less than 45 points with the Los Angeles Kings. Richards has seen his ice-time dwindle as a member of the Kings, but hasn’t produced as general manager Dean Lombardi probably expected. With only 15 points on the 2014-15 season, Richards has seen time as a $5.75M center on the fourth line, and is only projected to have less than 25 points by the conclusion of the season. Upon the conclusion of the All-Star Game Weekend in Columbus, Ohio, Dean Lombardi made the tough decision of placing Richards on waivers.
Waiving Richards meant that if he had not been claimed by another NHL team by noon on Tuesday, January 27, 2015, he would be cleared to play on the Manchester Monarchs. The idea of claiming Richards was definitely assessed thoroughly by a number of teams, but the main issue was the cap hit. A number of the following teams would definitely benefit from having the services of Mike Richards, but the main concern is the issue of term and cash available:
- The Carolina Hurricanes and the Edmonton Oilers need a depth center. With both teams weak down the middle, an experienced center would definitely be a good boost to the struggling teams.
- The Ottawa Senators would be a good fit for Richards. As a physical center, he would add size up the middle and could be placed on the second or third line.
- The Philadelphia Flyers could definitely bring back their previous captain for size and leadership for the white, black and orange.
The idea of claiming Mike Richards is not the most favoured. Claiming the 29 year-old center means paying all of his $5.75M cap hit. The solution to acquiring Mike Richards would ideally be via trade, but any team that would want to acquire him would ensure that the Los Angeles Kings retain a considerable amount of cash.
Here is an article from Bleacher Report analyzing the impact of the Mike Richards trade a year into Richards’ tenure with the Kings: